EU Fines Amazon Record Amount Over Data Misuse

According to a TechCrunch article by Carly Page published Saturday, a European data protection oversight authority has slapped Amazon with a $887 million fine over the way it makes use of customer data for targeted advertising purposes. The company’s latest SEC filing disclosed the Luxemborg National Commission for Data Protection’s (CNPD) ruling, condemned the decision, and made clear the e-commerce giant’s intent to appeal.

The penalty results from a 2018 complaint lodged by La Quadrature du Net, a French privacy rights group. The organization purports to “represent the interests of thousands of Europeans to ensure their data isn’t used by Big Tech companies to manipulate their behavior for political or commercial purposes,” TechCrunch said.

The court filing alleges, on behalf of more than 10,000 Amazon customers, that the platform misuses customers for commercial gain by cherry picking what advertising and information they receive. The CNPD also reportedly ordered Amazon to change its business practices, though the data authority has not publicly committed to this decision, and Amazon has not identified which business practices it seeks revision of.

“Maintaining the security of our customers’ information and their trust are top priorities,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “There has been no data breach, and no customer data has been exposed to any third party. These facts are undisputed.”

According to TechCrunch, the record fine comes at a time when Amazon is facing scrutiny across Europe. Last November, the European Commission (EC) reportedly leveled formal antitrust charges against the company for abusing its power by competing with third-party sellers who make use of the platform. Simultaneously, the EC investigated Amazon over purported preferential treatment of its own products over partner products.